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Meet the VLL Consultants

Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is a Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, the Farmer Award for excellence in writing from the National Council of Teachers of English, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for excellence in teacher education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design.

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor of Educational Leadership in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. She is a recipient of the Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She has co-authored several books on literacy, and was the recipient of NCTE’s Farmer award for outstanding writing. She teaches a variety of courses in elementary and secondary literacy in content-area instruction and supporting students with diverse learning needs.

Sonja Hollins-Alexander is an experienced educational leader and consultant who provides customized professional development services that support teacher and leader effectiveness.

Aida Rotell Allen is a nationally recognized consultant whose primary aim is to engage all learners through reading and writing. She worked to create a bilingual program designed to build literacy skills in both Spanish and English, and often uses collaborative learning to build the social and academic language skills of her students. She is also an administrator at Health Science High and a lecturer in the  teacher education department  at San Diego State University. 

Olivia Amador-Valerio, Ed. D. is currently a principal with the Chula Vista Elementary School District with thirteen years of experience. As a bilingual teacher, reading and language arts specialist, and earned doctorate in Educational Leadership, she has dedicated her career to improving student achievement for English Learners focused on collaborative conversations, designated and integrated English Language Development , and providing coaching and mentoring services for school staffs. Certified with the Visible Learning in Literacy model and the Gradual Release of Responsibility framework, she provides clients with a personalized professional development experience connected to high impact practices linked with the areas of concentration.  

Heather Anderson currently teaches English and higher-level Spanish at Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego. She earned her MA in curriculum and instruction from San Diego State University and is BCLAD certified. Heather consults at individual school sites emphasizing the use of gradual release of responsibility, differentiated instruction, close reading, and collaborative grouping. 

Kim Elliot Padgitt is a National Board Certified Science Teacher at Health Science High & Middle College. She earned a master’s degree with a focus on Reading and Language Arts from San Diego State University and is a Leading Edge Certified Teacher in online and blended learning. Kim has extensive experience making science content accessible to diverse student populations, including English Learners.

Carmen Emery, Ed D. is a practicing school principal with the Chula Vista Elementary School District. She runs a K-6, Dual Language Immersion (DLI), Title 1 school with approx. 620 students. She has ten years of classroom experience as a bilingual teacher and eleven years in school leadership. Her areas of expertise include; improving school climate & culture, English & Spanish language acquisition, the implementation of school-wide, high-impact instructional practices (Visible Learning), and starting, evaluating, & maintaining DLI programs. She has presented and / or facilitated sessions on DLI Leadership, Gradual Release of Responsibility, Visible Learning, and Professional Learning Cycles. 

Toni Faddis, Ed. D. is currently a principal in the Chula Vista Elementary School District with twelve years of classroom experience and twelve years of experience as a school leader in diverse communities.  Her background in bilingual education and as a Reading Recovery teacher assist her to establish relationships with teachers, administrators, and all types of learners.  Toni also mentors and coaches current and aspiring school leaders in the Educational Leadership Department at San Diego State University. 

Angela Hackman is a Noyce Master Teaching Fellow at SDSU in collaboration with the National Science Foundation and Qualcomm.  Angie earned her Masters of Science in genetics at UC Davis before obtaining her biology and chemistry teaching credentials.  Throughout her teaching, Angie makes content accessible and relevant to students of different learning styles and backgrounds.

Diane Lapp is a Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University, where her research and instruction focuses on issues related to struggling readers and writers, their families, and their teachers. 

Cathy Lassiter is a 30 year educator working primarily in urban schools as a teacher, principal, central office director, and adjunct professor.  Throughout her career she has focused on literacy as the great equalizer.  She brings a passion and commitment to VL for Literacy to her clients so that they can help all students become powerfully literate for college and careers.

Joanna Schaefer 

Marisol Thayre is a presenter and author whose special interests include Close Reading and Text-Dependent Questions; she currently conducts trainings on the Gradual Release of Responsibility, Differentiation, Collaboration, and Assessment.  

Javier Vaca

Javier Vaca is a U.S. History teacher at Health Sciences High & Middle College, where he works daily alongside Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey. Javier went to undergraduate school in Florida and completed his teaching credential and graduate degree at San Diego State University. He’s also a published author, with works appearing in a range of professional journals including ILA’s Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.

Connie Hamilton, Ed.S. has over 20 years in education as a teacher, instructional coach, and administrator.  A connected educator, she asks questions, makes connections, and develops systems to enhance professional learning and collaboration.

Lisa Cebelak

Lisa Cebelak

Lisa Forehand

Maria Grant

Hilda Martinez was named the 2019 San Diego Unified School District Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

Molly Ness